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Finally, would she have licensed the stage exhibition of her father's traditionary peculiarities, in addition to the portraiture, which cannot be mistaken, of his sensual, arrogant, impatient, and crafty character? Would she have laughed at his perpetual "ha!"; or taken away Burbage's licence? Would she have wept over the most touching sorrow of the dying Katharine; or sent Shakspere to join the company of his friend Southampton in the Tower? Those who have written on the subject say she would have borne all this; and that the pageant of her mother's coronation, with the succeeding representation of her own christening, capped with the prophecy of her future greatness, were to ensure the harmlessness of all these somewhat explosive materials, and to carry forward the five acts to a most felicitous conclusion
"This little one shall make it holiday."
Malone, as it appears to us, says all that can be said, in the literal way, to prove that such a drama as this would be acceptable to Elizabeth : "It is more likely that Shakspeare should have written a play the chief subject of which is the disgraces of Queen Katharine, the aggrandizement of Anne Boleyn, and the birth of her daughter, in the lifetime of Elizabeth, than after her death; at a time when the subject must have been highly pleasing at court, rather than at a period when it must have been less interesting. Queen Katharine, it is true, is represented as an amiable character, but still she is eclipsed; and the greater her merit, the higher was the compliment to the mother of Elizabeth, to whose superior beauty she was obliged to give way."* This is the prosaic, we may say the essentially grovelling mode of viewing the object of Shakspere,-an object presupposing equal vulgarity of mind in the dramatist and his court audience. Our readers will be sure that we appreciate far more highly Mr. Campbell's poetical creed in this matter:
Shakspeare contrives, though at the sacrifice of some historical truth, to raise the matron Katharine to our highest admiration, whilst at the same time he keeps us in love with Anne Boleyn, and on tolerable terms with Henry VIII. But who does not see, under all this wise management, the drift of his design, namely, to compliment Elizabeth as a virgin queen; to interest us in the memory of her mother Anne Boleyn; and to impress us with a belief of her innocence, though she suffered as an alleged traitress to the bed of Henry? The private death of Katharine of Arragon might have been still remembered by many living persons, but the death of Anne Boleyn was still more fresh in public recollection; and a wiser expedient could not have been devised for asserting the innocence of Elizabeth's mother than by portraying Henry's injustice towards Queen Katharine. For we are obliged to infer that, if the tyrant could thus misuse the noble Katharine, the purest innocence in her lovely successor could be no shield against his cruelty." +
There is one slight objection to this theory. Shakspere wrote for an audience; and an audience is a thing of impulses; it sympathizes with the oppressed, and hates the oppressor. An audience does not "infer." The poet who trusts to an audience perceiving "the drift of his design," through the veil of a dramatic action which moves their feelings entirely in an opposite direction to that in which he intends them to be moved, has, to our minds at least, a different theory of his art from that of Shakspere.
We had intended to have said something on "The Prologue," which the commentators hold was written by Ben Jonson, to allow him an occasion of sneering at Shakspere's fools and battleBut as we hold that the Prologue is a complete exposition of the idea of this drama, we shall return to it in our Supplementary Notice. The Prologue is fastened upon Jonson, upon the theory that he wrote it after Shakspere's retirement from the stage, when the old play was revived in his absence. We believe in the one piece of external evidence,-that a 'Henry VIII.' was produced in 1613, when the Globe was burned; that it was a new play; that it was then called 'All is True;'-and that this title agrees with the idea upon which Shakspere wrote the Henry VIII. Those who believe that it was written in the time of Elizabeth have to reject this one piece of external evidence. We further believe, from the internal evidence, that the play, as it stands, was written in the time of James I., and that we have received it in its original form. Those who assert the contrary have to resort to the hypothesis of interpolation; and, further, have to explain how many things which are, to a plain understanding, inconsistent with their theory, may be interpreted, by great ingenuity, to be consistent. We believe that Shakspere, amongst his
* Chronological Order, p. 390.
Life. Moxon's edition of Shakspeare.
latest dramas, constructed an historical drama to complete his great series,-one that was agreeable to the tone of his mind after his fiftieth year :
"Sad, high, and working, full of state and woe."
Those who take the opposite view hold that the chief object of the poet was to produce something which might be acceptable to Queen Elizabeth. Our belief is the obvious one; the contrary belief may be the more ingenious.
THE male costume of the reign of Henry VIII. has been rendered familiar to our very children by the innumerable portraits of " Bluff King Hal," principally copied from the paintings by Holbein, and the female costume scarcely less so by those of his six wives. Henry VIII. was born in 1491, and was therefore just thirty years of age at the period at which the play opens (the arrest and impeachment of Buckingham having taken place in 1521), and forty-two at the time it is supposed to close, as above mentioned. The best authorities, therefore, for the dress of the monarch and his nobles at the commencement of this play would be the curious old painting of the meeting of Henry and Francis, preserved at Windsor Castle, and the bas-reliefs representing the same
occurrence, at Rouen. The profusion of feathers in the latter--a fashion of the previous reign, and still raging in 1520-adds greatly to the picturesque effect of the general costume. For the later period, the full-length by Holbein engraved in Lodge's Portraits, or the print by Vertue, in which Henry is seen granting a charter to the barber-surgeons, would be preferable. Of Cardinal Wolsey there is a fine painting by Holbein at Christ Church, Oxford, engraved in Lodge's work. Cavendish, in his 'Life of Wolsey,' describes him as issuing out in his cardinal's habit of fine scarlet or crimson satin, his cap being of black velvet: and in a MS. copy
of that interesting work, formerly in the possession of the late Francis Douce, Esq., F.S.A., are three very curious drawings, representing-1st, The cardinal's progress on his way to France, with his archers, spearmen, cross, pillar, and purse bearers, &c.; 2ndly, The cardinal surrendering the great seal to the Dukes of Norfolk and Suffolk; and, 3rdly, Dr. Butts sent by the king and Anne Bullen to the sick cardinal with tokens of favour. The gentlemen in the cardinal's train wore, we are told, black velvet livery-coats, the most part with great chains of gold about their necks; and
[Henry and Anne sending Dr. Butts with tokens of favour to the sick Cardinal.]
all his yeomen following were clad in French tawny livery-coats, having embroidered upon the backs and breasts of the said coats the letters T and C under the cardinal's hat.
In the same beautiful work by Lodge, before mentioned, the portraits will be found of the Dukes of Suffolk and Norfolk, Cromwell, Sir Thomas More, and Sir Anthony Denny, by Holbein; and
Cranmer by Flick, the original painting being in the British Museum. Also a most interesting one of the gallant and accomplished Henry Earl of Surrey, by Titian, who has represented him in a magnificent suit of armour, and thereby given us a splendid specimen of the military costume of the period. In addition to the information conveyed to the eye by this collection of authentic portraits, it will be sufficient to quote, from the sumptuary law passed in the 24th year of Henry's reign, such passages as will describe the materials of which the dresses were made, and which were, indeed, at this time of the most costly kind. The royal family alone were permitted to use the fur of the black jennet; and sables could only be worn by noblemen above the rank of a viscount. Crimson or blue velvet, embroidered apparel, or garments bordered "with gold sunken work," were forbidden to any person beneath the quality of a baron or knight's son or heir; and velvet dresses of any colour, furs of martens, chains, bracelets, and collars of gold, were prohibited to all persons possessing less than two hundred marks per annum. The sons and heirs of such persons were, however, permitted the use of black velvet or damask, and tawnycoloured russet or camlet. Satin and damask gowns were confined to the use of persons possessing at least one hundred marks per annum; and the wearing of plaited shirts, garnished with gold, silver, or silk, was permitted to none below the rank of knighthood. The hair was cut remarkably close, a peremptory order having been issued by Henry to all his attendants and courtiers to "poll their heads." Beards and moustaches were worn at pleasure.
The portraits of Anne Bullen and Queen Katharine will convey a sufficient idea of the costume of ladies of rank at this period. The jewelled cap and feather with which Holbein has represented Anne in the portraits engraved in Cavendish's Life of Wolsey' are exceedingly picturesque and becoming. The other head-dress, which was probably the often-talked-of " French hood," is better known, nearly all Henry's wives being represented in it. The gown was cut square at the bosom, as in the preceding reign; but instead of the neck being bare, it was covered almost to the throat by the partlet, a sort of habit-shirt, much like the modern one, embroidered with gold and silk. The sleeves of the gowns were frequently of a different material from that which composed the rest of the dress, and generally of a richer stuff. The gown was open in front to the waist, showing the kirtle or petticoat, and with or without a train, according to the prevailing fashion of France or Holland. Anne of Cleves is described as wearing a gown made round without any train, after the Dutch fashion; while the train of Catherine Parr is stated to have been more than two yards long. Anne Bullen, while Countess of Pembroke, danced at Calais with Francis I. in a masque consisting of seven ladies besides herself, who were attired in masking apparel of strange fashion, made of cloth of gold compassed with crimson tinsel satin, formed with cloth of silver, lying loose and knit with laces of gold. They were brought into the chamber with four damsels in crimson satin, with tabards of fine cypress. Cavendish, in his Life of Wolsey,' says—“ I have seen the king suddenly come thither (i. e. to the cardinal's) in a mask, with a dozen other maskers in garments like shepherds, made of fine cloth of gold and crimson satin; their hairs and beards, of fine gold wire, or silver, or some of black silk, with sixteen torchbearers and drums all in satin." A minute account is given by Hall of the coronation of Queen Anne Bullen; and also by Cavendish, who has described the procession and the ceremony. We must be careful, however, not to confound the procession from the Tower to Westminster, on the day previous to the coronation, with that introduced in the play, which is the procession from the palace to the Abbey. On the first occasion she wore a surcoat of white cloth of tissue, and a mantle of the same, furred with ermine, her hair hanging down from under a coif, with a circlet about it full of rich stones. On the second (that in the play) she wore a surcoat and robe of purple velvet, furred with ermine, the coif and circlet as before. The barons of the Cinque Ports, who carried the canopy over her, were "all in crimson, with points of blue and red hanging on their sleeves." The ladies, "being lords' wives," that followed her, "had surcoats of scarlet with narrow sleeves, the breast all lettice (fur), with bars of borders (i. e. rows of ermine) according to their degrees, and over that they had mantles of scarlet furred, and every mantle had lettice about the neck, like a neckercher, likewise powdered (with ermine), so that by the powderings their degree was known. Then followed ladies, being knights' wives, in gowns of scarlet with narrow sleeves, without trains, only edged with lettice." The queen's gentlewomen were similarly attired with the last. The lord chancellor wore a robe of scar
* For some fine specimens of the costume of the early portion of this reign we refer our readers to the Introductory Notice to our Number containing The Two Gentlemen of Verona.
let, open before, and bordered with lettice. The dukes were in crimson velvet, furred with ermine, and powdered according to their degrees. The Duke of Suffolk's doublet and jacket were set with orient pearl; his gown of crimson velvet, richly embroidered; and he carried a white rod in his hand, being that day high steward of England. The knights of the Bath wore "violet gowns, with hoods purfled with miniver, like doctors."